Piece description from the artist
I create abstract paintings inspired by memories of my interaction with nature.
When I was a young girl, I enjoyed walks along the Indian countryside, taking in the beauties nature had to offer. Twenty years ago I moved to California, a place so much different from my native land. I felt out of place and disoriented. That is when I took sanctuary in nature.
I have a unique technique of painting: Instead of conventional tools like brushes, I paint with air. I dilute the oil paints, pour them on a wood panel and blow air with an air blower or a leaf blower. Vapor-like shapes appear and disappear on the panel, leaving only traces of the initial layer. There is a constant process of adding and subtracting layers of paint until I get the final composition.
Usha Shukla was born and brought up in New Delhi, India. From early childhood, she was fascinated by the outdoors. The vibrant colors of the Indian countryside left a strong impression on her. After a graduate degree in English Literature, she went on to get a diploma in Fashion Design. In 1996 when she moved to San Francisco, California, with her family, she found everything different except her interaction with nature. In 2005, after a visit to the Louvre Museum in Paris, she realized her true passion for art. She enrolled in the local community college and started her formal art education. She completed her graduate program at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, focusing on painting.
Combining her love of nature and passion for art, she paints large abstract paintings in vibrant colors. She has a unique process of mark-making. Instead of conventional tools like brushes and palette knives, she moves the paint on wood panels using an air blower.
Her work is collected by several local art collectors. She won the 2016-17 Clyde & Co Art Award for Emerging Artists, San Francisco. She has participated in several juried group and solo shows on the West Coast and has won awards. She has a public art mural in the city of Livermore, California. Her six paintings are installed in the East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, commissioned by the Alameda County Arts Commission. Five of her works are in the permanent collection at the Sutter Hospital in San Francisco and one in Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston. She recently exhibited her work at Spectrum, Miami during the Miami Art Basel Week. She received the 2020 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award and now serves as an Art Commissioner on the Alameda County Arts Commission.